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Easy Heat Systems is at the forefront of the district heating sector, and have completed numerous high-profile heat networks across the UK for public sector clients. Our second district heating project for ng homes saw Easy Heat Systems take on the role as principal contractor for design, build, operation and maintenance of district heating systems to provide heating and hot water for 92 social housing units distributed across three tower blocks.
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The Carron Crescent district heating project successfully retrofitted a modern and highly efficient district heating system into aging housing stock in an inner-city location. Meticulous planning ensured compatibility with the tower blocks location, age, and condition, and through measured prefabrication of the crucial components, installation was streamlined and efficient, minimising disruptions and reducing costs during the installation phase. Integration with Solar PV demonstrated that the interaction of well-designed renewable energy systems can optimise the system efficiency and offer our clients tangible cost-saving and energy efficiency benefits. The project achieved its primary aim of affordable, low-carbon heating for residents and exceeded forecasted cost-savings in terms of operational costs.
The Carron Crescent site in Springburn, Glasgow comprises of three eight-story tower blocks situated in an inner-city suburb. The urban environment meant that the only area was available for the installation of the eight heat pumps and the associated plant room was on a grassy scrubland between the high-rise tower blocks and an operational railway line and depot.
The three tower blocks, built in the 1960s, featured an architectural design and layout that did not accommodate for a modern heating infrastructure to be fitted in the future. In order to implement the district heating system into these tower blocks, significant retrofit works were required. The new heat network designed by Easy Heat Systems would create a demand of approximately 78,500kWh electrical input annually to generate the 243,350kWh of heat required for the 92 flats on the scheme.
Easy Heat Systems began the process of developing this heat system with an extensive design phase, resulting in a comprehensive heat network proposal. After obtaining the necessary permissions and permits, the installation phase commenced with the civil works. This included establishing foundations for heat pumps and the plant room, as well as trenching and laying of underground pipelines to connect the main plant site to three tower blocks.
Eight Mitsubishi CAHV 45kW heat pumps were required to cover the heat demand at peak load. Offsite prefabrication work was completed to assemble the heat pumps onto their supporting frames and to build the distribution plant room which houses the buffer tank and pumping systems. By taking this approach, Easy Heat Systems significantly reduced intensive labour and heavy works on site, allowing us to deliver the completed units to site assembled, and craning them into position, for final connections to the underground pipelines. This approach was highly effective in delivering a smooth installation phase for the heavy main plant items.
Detailed modelling calculations were carried out to determine the most efficient pipe sizes and flow rates ensuring the most efficient heat distribution without excessive pressure drops. The design and implementation of the building riser and lateral pipework in each tower block was a meticulously planned process in which the existing architecture of the buildings was studied in-depth. Pipeline locations were strategically chosen to minimize heat loss, avoid congested or inaccessible areas to ease future maintenance, and uphold the building’s structural integrity. The riser and lateral pipelines were fabricated off site and brought to site in sections for installation. This allowed for an efficient and simplified installation which minimised disruption to residents daily activities. Through careful planning of the riser and lateral pipes, the retrofitting of the district heating system within the towers was executed flawlessly.
To offset the electrical requirements of the heat network, a Solar PV system was installed on each of the rooftops of the three tower blocks. These systems, with a capacity of 15kW each, were integrated into the electrical supply of the heat network plant. In the initial operational year, the system successfully generated a total of 42,090 kWh of energy.
Out of this energy output, approximately 45% (equivalent to about 16,850 kWh) was directly consumed on-site by the district heating system. This direct consumption resulted in cost savings of approximately £4,200 annually for the client. The surplus energy, which constituted the majority of the generated output, was effectively sold back to the grid as grid export. This grid export translated to an additional income of £3,785 per year, providing further relief to operational costs. As a result, the solar PV system alone yielded a total savings of £7,985 in heating costs over the course of the year.